No Time To Die

No Time to Die (Universal Pictures)

I often forget how long James Bond has been a part of my life. Much like other British icons such as King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, he is ingrained in our mythos and pop culture and has held many faces. You may be familiar with the original literature by Ian Fleming or the many film adaptations that later followed. But each generation has had its own interpretation.

Regardless of which version you grew up with, Bond’s life has always been an absolute fantasy. And while the series is somewhat grounded in reality, the stories are packed with transforming cars, concealed gadgets and diabolical villains with elaborate booby-trapped lairs. I have always found the sheer imagination behind it all fascinating. Even if you’re not a huge fan of action films there’s so much about Bond’s globetrotting adventures to fall in love with, even if it’s just the iconic opening themes.

No Time to Die is no exception. It ramps up the camp with its snappy one-liners, outlandish villains and over-the-top Britishness. The set pieces are stunning and diverse, and the action is breathtakingly exciting. Some of the scene transitions do jar a little, as they fling us across the world in an instant with no explanation as to how, but that’s Bond. It’s a fantasy. If anyone can escape a tricky situation, it’s him, and we take that for granted.

No Time To Die

The set pieces are stunning and diverse, and the action is breathtakingly exciting.

A continuing story

I would highly recommend watching Spectre beforehand, or at least familiarising yourself with its plot beats. If you can marathon Casino RoyaleQuantum of Solace and Skyfall too, then even better. The Craig films have had their highs and lows. But unlike earlier standalone films there is a story that runs throughout, from the reboot Casino Royale to the end of No Time to Die.

Unfortunately, the ending felt abrupt. Even by Bond standards I wasn’t sure I bought it. As it was the big send-off for Daniel Craig, I felt it needed a bit more to tie it all together. After everything he has been through, I’m not sure this story should have been the one to end his saga. Regardless, we knew from the beginning that this was a reboot, and this five-part series acts as its own self-contained Bond story. What we do have now is the opportunity for a new beginning. A new set of Bond stories with a new leading actor or actress. So whether you feel satisfied or not, there’s a fresh slate waiting. 

An excellent cinematic experience

Even if I’m not wholly satisfied with how Daniel Craig’s arc concluded, he has, in my eyes, been a worthy and memorable Bond. Ending aside, No Time to Die is a very enjoyable Bond film. It certainly has all the necessary staples and provides an excellent cinematic experience. Definitely go and make your own judgement, but keep expectations in check. And remember that this is but one interpretation of Bond. Enjoy the fantasy of the moment.

Words by Andy Porter

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